The first words our hostess said were “We don’t lock doors in Alderney”.
At the last count the population of Alderney stood at 1,800, no room for crooked thinking here. Island life is relaxed, friendly and very laid back.
We had planned to stay onboard a yacht called ‘Pipedreamer’ and had visions of reading books and looking at the stars whilst sipping a glass of red wine. Gale force winds blew that idea out of the window. Lesson learnt – always have travel insurance!
With wobbly wings our 12 seater Aurigny flight landed and Simon, the owner of ‘Pipedreamer’, said that as a seasoned sailor he would not stay onboard in this weather. So, he took us around the island and made sure we were comfortably settled in ‘Farm Court’ B/B.
As St Anne’s (once called St Mary’s and no-one knows why they changed the name!) was only a few minutes walk away, we were able to enjoy popping into town and trying out a different restaurant each night. Without exception every meal we had on the island was excellent.
It seems that there is a festival of some sort most months in Alderney and all islanders volunteer in some capacity or other. I counted over 40 clubs ranging from sports, arts and culture to horticulture and nature. This is not Ibiza with raving bars and stag parties, mind you there is a very lively ukulele band playing in the Georgian House on Wednesday evenings!
Most visitors come here to walk, enjoying a surprisingly varied choice of trails. Festivals include performing arts, air shows, sailing, fishing and special star gazing dates.
The museum was a welcome haven during one downpour. We thoroughly enjoyed displays of shipwrecks and the sad story of the evacuation during WWII with heartbreaking stories and photographs of homecomings to derelict houses and the prospect of many years of hard toil to regain normality.
Just when the weather promised to pick up, it was time for us to leave. I feel that Alderney truly is unlocked and the friendliness and warm welcome will lure me back again and again, if only to see the puffins and go star gazing.